||Lifeboat from Titanic
||Lifeboat to Carpathia
Mr William John
Mellors claimed to have been rescued in Collapsible A. He described his survival in a private letter to his mother, written on April 24, 1912, stating the following:
“But let it be enough to say I was one of the only ten or twelve survivors who remained on the ship & was immersed in water with a temperature of about 31 degrees for six whole hours. “
Mellors described his survival in more detail in a private letter to Dorothy Ockenden, written on May 9, 1912:
“I had been swimming for about 1 hour altogether when I saw an object a little way off which turned out to be a collapsible boat with about 20 or thirty people clinging to it, I managed after a hard struggle to get on this and found that the sides were broken away and that she was well under water. After a time I saw some of the people gradually dropping down dead one at the time and we had to push their bodies off to keep the raft afloat. Every now and again we were all thrown into the water owing to the boat capsizing and when we climbed back I noticed there were less climbed on. …. There was then only ten or twelve of us left on the raft alive and there were five or six laying dead on the bottom. By this time I had become exhausted and had to let a man I had been holding up fall to the bottom of the raft but he was saved. Eventually we were picked up and taken to the Carpathia.”
Mellors also detailed how he had lost some feeling in his hands and feet due to his ordeal, but that doctors were convinced he would regain it in time.
Mellors subsequently testified under oath in New York District Court during the Limitation of Liability hearings. While the transcript of his testimony is missing, a summary of his testimony appeared in the New York Times on June 27, 1915:
“The witness clung for hours to a collapsible boat, which floated, although not in working order, until he was picked up. The witness said Mrs. Rose Abbott, another second-class passenger, was not permitted by the crew to enter an unfilled boat and saved herself by clinging with the witness to the collapsible boat.”
The only contradictory evidence appears to be from Jack Thayer, in his 1940 book The Sinking of the S.S. Titanic:
“Only 4 of us were passengers: Colonel Archibald Gracie, Washington D.C.; A. H. Barkworth, East Riding, Yorkshire, England; W. J. Mellers, Chelsea, London, England; and myself”.
It is clear that Thayer was mistaken about Mellors having been aboard Collapsible B with him. Due to Mellors’ own private accounts, details of his injuries and his testimony in the Limitation of Liability hearings, we have concluded with certainty that he was rescued aboard Collapsible A and subsequently transferred into boat #14.